Probably in preparation for the inevitable, though heavily delayed, Indiana Jones IV, the original Indiana Jones Trilogy – Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Temple Of Doom and The Last Crusade – has just been re-released worldwide as a three video box set. In addition, LucasFilm is releasing the entire series of Young Indiana Jones Adventures, chronologically numbered alongside with the big screen movies, so you can follow the life of Harrison Ford’s swashbuckling archaeologist from little guy through to big guy. Bubblegun has chained itself to the hype wagon to bring you 20 Things You Genuinely Didn’t Know About Indiana Jones…

  1. Keeping out of the public eye during the release of Star Wars in May 1977, George Lucas took a Hawaiian holiday with his friend Steven Spielberg. While soaking up the UV on the beach one afternoon, Spielberg happened to mention how much he’d love to direct a James Bond movie. Lucas hit him an idea he was toying with based upon the cliffhanger adventure serials of the 1930s. Three years later, Spielberg was directing Raiders Of The Lost Ark from a script by Lucas. It has made more than $240,000,000 at the US box office alone.
  2. The first choice for Indy was ET actor Peter Coyote, when it was realised that no one knew who he was Tom Selleck was approached to play “Indiana Smith”, but he had to drop out due to filming commitments on Magnum P.I. The character was renamed when Lucas’s carpenter chum Harrison Ford was brought on board.
  3. Harrison Ford wasn’t the only Star Wars connection in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The plane seen in the opening sequence has the registration OB-CPO, while hidden among hieroglyphics in the Well Of Souls are engravings of druids R2-D2 and C-3PO. The scene where Indiana Jones threatens to destroy the Ark Of The Covenant with a bazooka was filmed in the same Tunisian canyon as the scene from Star Wars where Obi-Wan Kenobi is first introduced. In Temple Of Doom, the opening nightclub sequence is set in “Club Obi-Wan”. During the sequence set in the Nazi submarine base, the tannoy calls out the words: "eins, eins, drei, acht”, or “One, one, three, eight” – a reference to Lucas’s first movie, THX 1138.
  4. An early draft of the script featured many of the more extreme scenes later used in Temple Of Doom; Indiana hiding behind a giant rolling gong, a mine cart chase sequence, and leaping out of an aeroplane in a rubber dinghy, and subsequently using it to slide down a mountain. They were considered a little too “out there” at the time of Raiders.
  5. The famous scene where Indiana Jones shoots a master swordsman in a crowded marketplace was improvised on set, and suggested by Harrison Ford. The script originally had the swordsman being disarmed by Indy’s whip.
  6. The final effect sequence, in which ghosts are unleased from the Ark Of The Covenant, was achieved using a water tank technique pioneered on Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. For the effect of the Nazis being struck by lightning the actors were required to wear flashbulbs beneath their costumes. The shot of the melting Nazi heads was achieved by constructing models out of gelatine, and melting them with electric fires. The footage was then speeded up to achieve the desired effect.
  7. Temple Of Doom was released in 1984, but was in fact a prequel to Raiders Of The Lost Ark, set approximately a year earlier. It featured the worse movie tagline of all time: “The Man With The Hat Is Back”, suggesting that the focus original film had been about a man with a notable hat, and not a high-octane action/adventure. No better was The Last Crusade’s “The Man With The Hat Is Back… And This Time He’s Bought His Dad”.
  8. Indy’s Temple Of Doom sidekick Short Round was named after the dog of the film’s screenwriter Willard Huyuck.
  9. Temple Of Doom was the least successful of the trilogy. It could be Huyuck who placed the kiss of death on its fortunes; he also wrote the other LucasFilm flops Howard The Duck, Radioland Murders and More American Graffiti. Pray Lucas doesn’t enlist the skank to help with Star Wars Episode II.
  10. During filming the crew played bizarre practical joke on Harrison Ford. While chained to a stone waiting to be whipped by Thugee guards, Barbara Streisand appeared and began whipping Ford, shouting “That’s for Hanover Street – the worse movie I ever saw!”, at which point his Star Wars co-star Carrie Fisher arrived to defend him from Steisand’s mock punishment. Perhaps you had to be there…
  11. The Last Crusade was released in 1989, and was something of a return to form for the series after the relatively disappointing Temple Of Doom.  Even so, it failed to achieve the same box office success as Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
  12. Sean Connery isn’t the only James Bond actor to appear in The Last Crusade. John Rhys-Davies was in The Living Daylights, Alison Doody (Dr. Elsa Schneider) had been a Bond girl, Michael Byrne (Vogel) and Billy J. Mitchell (Dr Mulberry) were officers in Tomorrow Never Dies and Never Say Never Again respectively, Vernon Dobtcheff (a butler) had played a nightclub owner in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Julian Glover (Walter Donovan), Stefan Kalipha (a tank gunner) and Pat Roach (a Gestapo officer – best known as Bomber in Auf Wiedersehen Pet) had all been Bond villains or henchmen.
  13. The late River Phoenix, who plays the young Indiana Jones during the film’s opening moments, had previously played Harrison Ford’s son in The Mosquito Coast. Phoenix claimed that his portrayal of the character was based on Harrison Ford himself, and not on Ford’s own portrayal of Indiana Jones.
  14.  The young Indy sequence reveals the origin of the character’s prominent chin scar as being the misuse of his whip. In reality Harrison Ford got the scar during a car crash when he was 20.
  15. The revelation of the “Indiana” name being based on the boy Indy’s dog is another example of real life intruding upon the film; during the 1970s, George Lucas had a dog called Indiana.
  16. Harrison Ford was 47 when he made The Last Crusade. Sean Connery, who plays Indy’s father, is just 12 years older than Ford.
  17. As with all the Indiana Jones movies The Last Crusade opens with a shot that perfectly matches the famous Paramount mountain logo that preceeds it. In this instance it was a rock formation in the Utah desert. In Temple Of Doom it was engraved onto the big gong that Indy shields himself behind.
  18. The Young Indiana Jones TV series was a testbed for production and digital effects techniques that Lucas would later use on his Star Wars prequels. Huge crowd scenes were accomplished using virtual actors, while Cory Carrier, who portrayed the character between the ages of 8 and 12, was digitally “shrunk” when he filmed additional scenes for the 1996 special edition of 1991’s series pilot Curse Of The Jackal.
  19. In addition to Harrison Ford, four other actors have played Indiana Jones to date; River Phoenix in The Last Crusade (age 16), the aforementioned Cory Carrier, Sean Patrick Flannery (in Young Indiana Jones, aged 17 to 21), and George Hall (as the old Indy during the series’ framing sequences). Harrison Ford reprised the role for one episode of Young Indiana Jones set in the 1950s.
  20. Indiana Jones wears a hat.

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